Heavy Metal Linux 6.6 has arrived

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Before Linus Torvalds announced Linux 6.6 kernel releaseHe said there was one Musical documentary made about it — which is actually Iron Maiden’s music video for ‘The Number of the Beast’. Although there are people who are fans of both heavy metal and open source, notably Jono BaconI didn’t know Torvalds was part of the crowd either.

Either way, Torvalds said: “I have absolutely no excuse to delay the v6.6 release any longer, so here it is.” And what we get in this release, besides the usual array fixes and drivers, is a potion of new features.

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There was one feature that caught my eye KSMBD is the in-kernel SMB3 server. KSMBD, which was designed by Samsung, is a new kernel module that implements server side SMB3 file-sharing protocol At the heart of Linux. This module has been in the works for years – and it needed that time. Its first edition KSMBD was notable for having more than its fair share of security issues. Thankfully, those issues have now been fixed.

The introduction of KSMBD raises a question: “Why put an SMB server in the kernel when Samba Decades?” There are two answers to this question. The first answer is that KSMBD has a very small attack surface — and since file transfer protocols are often attacked, this is important. The second answer is that KSMBD should perform faster for streamlined data transfers. And File-sharing operations, and support for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA).

Many are excited about its arrival Early Eligible Virtual Deadline First (EEVDF) The schedule replaces the EEVDF schedule Fully Fair Schedule (CFS)Which has been going on since about 2007. These schedulers manage the allocation of CPU time between Linux processes, so no single process is pigged out on processor time.

CFS has done quite well. But over the years, it became clear that while some processes might not need a lot of CPU time, when they do, they do. right now. At the same time, other processes may need more CPU time, but can wait their turn. EEVDF solves these latency problems more efficiently than CFS.

Under the hood, as its creator, Peter Zijlstra wrote, EEVDF “completely reworks the base schedulerPlacement, preemption, picking — everything The difference between CFS and EEVDF is like night and day.

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Linux 6.6 is also supported Intel’s Shadow Stackwhich is a new computer processor feature designed to thwart return-oriented programming attacks, e.g. Stack buffer overflow. The feature does this by setting up a secondary memory stack, which applications cannot modify directly. So, when your application executes a CALL instruction, the processor pushes the return address onto both the normal stack and the shadow stack. Then, after the function returns, the processor compares the two copies. If the two copies differ, the processor raises a control-protection error message. Credited to Intel for coming up with the code, this security system works with both new AMD and Intel chips.

While we’re talking about AMD, the kernel now supports it AMD’s Dynamic Boost Control. Gamers with AMD Ryzen CPUs should have better frame-per-second game performance in any video-intensive game.

Looking ahead, developers are laying the groundwork for upcoming hardware, including new CPUs and GPUs from Intel and AMD. This effort includes support for Intel’s Lunar Lake and Arrow Lake processors and AMD’s EPYC and Ryzen CPUs.

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Gamers will also be happy to see that Linux 6.6 now supports battery reporting for Google Stadia controllers, Nvidia Shield controllers, and the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Xbox headset.

One minor change is that the important Linux security module, NSA SELinux, is missing NSA from its name. The program remains the same, but the acknowledgment of history — that SELinux was originally developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) — has been removed.

It will be a while before the Linux 6.6 kernel is integrated into the stable software repositories of most distributions. For users interested in getting their hands on the new kernel, check out ArcLinux, openSUSE TumbleweedAnd Gentoo Linux.

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These distros give you the easiest way to play with the latest Linux kernel versions. If you’re comfortable compiling and setting up your own Linux directly from source code, Linux 6.6 is available for direct download. The git tree by Linus Torvalds or kernel.org website

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